Condo Design Tips from an Award Winning Designer!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali, it’s all about the light! Light fills the season with holiday spirit. Holiday decorations and celebrations have already started in many parts of the world and lighting creates a spectacle of its own.

Living in a condo has some limitations to how you can decorate your space. Each condominium has its own restrictions related to what you are allowed to do or not to do when decorating for holiday. If you just moved in a condo and don’t know which are those limitations, best advice is to go talk to the property management (that’s if they didn’t already posted a Holiday Decor Guidelines). There are 2 main rules to keep in mind:

1st- real trees and wreaths represent a fire hazard therefore they cannot be used for any of the common areas of your condo and in most cases they are not allowed in your unit either.

2nd- your suite entry door is not really your door, well it is :) but you can’t use nails or screws to affix anything to your door. Your condo by laws (every condo owner has this book!) says exactly what you can and can’t do with your suite entry door. Best is to ask your property management as they may allow you to use double sided tape or Velcro.

And yet, all these rules should not stop anyone from having a great holiday decor, EVEN in a small condo space.

For few years now, I change the way I decorate for Christmas every year- mostly the accent color. It’s really fun to use a different color every year! there are so many choices in the retail stores, sky is the limit!

What I would suggest to anyone wondering how to decorate a really really tiny condo space is to follow the power of 3!

1. the power of color. Yes, in some small condo spaces you can actually see the entire space right from the suite entry door. Using the same accent color from the foyer to the farthest corner of your space will actually create a consistent look and will amplify the effect of that color.

I have experimented using consistency in color throughout the space and noticed most people say “wow” right after they walk in a space easy to read. In love with white faux Chritmas trees? For those of you who opted for dark paint colors in your living area, I have to say that a white tree is THE BEST look! very sharp looking and if you think ahead how the color of your ornaments will work with your wall paint color, you've got a winner!

2. the power of grouping- some small condo spaces don’t even have a corner for a Christmas tree- no space? no problem! try to add a small detail starting with the foyer (perhaps a faux wreath) or candle lights on a shelf, then add something in every room including small accents in your bathroom, bath towels, bath mat, then living space and bedroom.

And maybe you can’t fit in a full height tree, but I’m sure you can use one of those large vases filled with white branches or white and coloured branches (use again your decor accent color).

Think of ways to easy change the look of your accessories ( how about using different color & texture throw pillow cases, throws, window coverings and lights and even artwork!) nicely coordinated with your decorations- all this for a much more powerful visual impact.

Is Hanukkah a great time for entertaining at home over the holidays? Think of creating your decor theme ahead of time and don't forget about the cookies! :)

3. the power of lighting- you have seen it! I have seen so many wonderful Menorahs  and love to drive by houses where you see them lit in the windows.

Windows decorations are really easy to do and you have as many options as in a house: Wreaths aren’t only for the front door, glowing candles are welcome in any corner of your living space, hanging icicles are all part of the holiday decor recipe.

You probably know by now that LED lighting is the best way to go especially when you plan on having the lights on during the night.

Depending on each condo property management, you may be allowed to use the lights on small artificial trees on your balcony. Even if it’s snowy and windy, your balcony is your little garden that could look very pretty after a fresh snow fall.

Wondering what other people are doing for Christmas decorations and gifts? personally I find that before the Holidays it feels like everyone is running a marathon of "buying" frenzy, that sometimes we forget what the holidays are all about. I was really touched to find this wonderful example of just simply sharing the joy of Christmas, called Christmas in a bottle.
"We filled mason jars with many cute little holiday treasures, wrote a sweet note on a star, tied them up and sent them off into the ocean.

We stood with feet in the waves casting out our jars of Christmas joy.

We sent them off with hopes that they would be found by someone in need of a little holiday cheer." Read the full blog article here.

Feeling like making your own decorations? Here's a great example of how to use newspapers and make your own recycled ornaments!

“Reinvent the traditional holiday hearth with a thoroughly modern indoor wonderland. A dramatic sweep of light glows from clean sculptural shapes and a resplendent textural mix of glass and silver. “ West Elm has most of the decor elements anyone can use in a condo space.

And remember to have fun while you decorate! too many people look at what they are not allowed to do when decorating a condo vs how many great fun opportunities they have!
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  1. Great holiday decorating tips. It seems like you can make do with a little while still pulling off great looks. Thanks.

  2. That's right! you don't need a 7' christmas tree to make your space look and feel festive :)


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